Jump to content

  • Chat

Welcome to Formiculture.com!

This is a website for anyone interested in Myrmecology and all aspects of finding, keeping, and studying ants. The site and forum are free to use. Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation points to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!


Turns out life underground is NOISY

article acoustics study underground

  • Please log in to reply
1 reply to this topic

#1 Offline m99 - Posted February 12 2022 - 11:42 AM


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 149 posts
  • LocationCT



Great read about the world our ants came from. I bet all these species are a lot more noise-attuned than we realize.



The first time that Marcus Maeder stuck a noise sensor into the ground, it was on a whim. A sound artist and an acoustic ecologist, he was sitting in a mountain meadow and pushed a special microphone he’d built into the soil. “I was just curious,” says Maeder, who is working on a dissertation on the sounds of biodiversity at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Zürich.


He certainly wasn’t prepared for the clamor of sounds that started to flood his headset. “They were very strange. There was thrumming and chirring and scraping. You need a whole new vocabulary to describe it.” Maeder was eavesdropping, he realized, on creatures that live in the soil.




And every soil organism produces its own soundtrack. Root-munching larvae emit short clicks as they break the fibers of their meal. Worms rustle as they crawl through tunnels; so do plant roots as they push past grains of soils, as researchers reported in 2018. But the roots move slower than the worms do, and at a steadier pace.
Subterranean vibrations can also be key for what appear to be intended signals. Mole rats, living in underground burrows, are thought to communicate with other mole rats in the vicinity by banging their heads or feet against the walls of their tunnels. Leafcutter ants have been observed to create noises when they get buried during nest cave-ins. Other worker ants rush to the spot and start to dig to rescue their nestmate.
Some of these underground sounds are audible to the human ear, but many are too high or too low in frequency (as well as in volume). To capture these, researchers use tools such as piezoelectric sensors, which work like the contact microphones you might clip onto a guitar. Attached to a nail, sometimes up to 30 centimeters long, that has been pushed into the ground, these sensors detect vibrations that researchers then convert into electronic signals and amplify until humans can hear them.

Edited by m99, February 12 2022 - 11:45 AM.

  • Antkeeper01, TypeD and PaigeX like this

#2 Offline Arthroverts - Posted February 27 2022 - 6:56 PM


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 99 posts
  • LocationSoCal, San Bernardino

Interesting, if not unsurprising. The world is far stranger, and more noisy, than we tend to realize without people like Marcus Maeder being curious.





My blog devoted to invertebrates of all shapes and sizes


Invertebrate Club of Southern California


"And God said, 'Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.' And it was so." Genesis 1:24

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: article, acoustics, study, underground

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users